Team captain Nikki Snyder (left) and Coach Lisa DeRossi-Cooper celebrate after championship match.
Cal State East Bay's women's water polo team won the Collegiate III national title on May 4 by defeating Cal Lutheran University 7-6 in four overtimes in the 8-team championship tournament at Connecticut College in New London, Ct.
CSUEB reached the title game by defeating Cal Lutheran 8-7 and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 11-6 in the semi-finals on May 3.
The Pioneers' Ashley Vieira scored the winning goal near the end of the fourth overtime of the championship match in giving her team its first ever national championship.
CSUEB Head Coach Lisa DeRossi-Cooper was named "Coach of the Year" and Pioneers goalie Elise Wilhelmsen was selected "Most Valuable Player" and voted first team all-tournament.
Lauren Binner, who scored 12 goals for the Pioneers in the championship tournament, also earned first team all-tournament honors while Laura Demeneces was named to the all-tourney second team.
Wilhelmsen was solid in the net against Cal Lutheran as she turned away 14 shots including one that would have broken the tie in favor of Cal Lutheran in the final seconds of regulation. Nikki Snyder and Mary Rosa each scored twice for the Pioneers.
In opening round matches on May 2, CSUEB defeated Colorado College 21-4 and Grove City College 13-5 as Binner scored eight goals in the two victories and Liz Warren scored five, including four against Colorado.
It was the fifth consecutive season that Cal State East Bay competed in the Collegiate III National Championships. The eight-team field also included UC Santa Cruz, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College, Carthage College, Grove City College, Colorado College, and Connecticut College.
The last national championship for the Cal State East Bay Intercollegiate Athletic program was won by the Pioneers' women's soccer in 1988.
For additional coverage of the water polo team's championship run, click on: